E-Commerce Directive helping economy, says Commission

IE NEWS FEATURE: E-Commerce Directive helping economy, says Commission

Europe's economy is benefiting from the E-commerce Directive, according to a European Commission report published on Friday, which described the harmonising measure adopted in 2000 as "having a substantial and positive effect." Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said: "The EU's Directive is helping e-commerce to take off in the Internal Market by ensuring that Europe's e-commerce entrepreneurs can take full advantage of a domestic market of more than 370 million consumers ...We now need to make sure that the Directive continues to work well over the next few years, in an enlarged European Union."

The E-commerce Directive affects almost every EU business with a web site, not just sites that allow transactions. Its goal was to provide legal certainty for businesses and consumers. To this end the Directive introduced into EU law a limited 'country of origin' principle, certain information requirements for web sites and electronic communications, and clarified the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs. Due to be implemented by Member States by 17th January 2002, the Directive is now in force in 12 Member States, including the UK. Five of the 10 future Member States have already written the Directive into national law.

The first report on the application of the Directive concludes that the internal market objectives of the Directive have been met and that it has provided a sound legal framework for information society services in the internal market. The Commission says it has also led to modernisation of existing national legislation, for example in contract law, to ensure the full validity of on-line transactions. The Commission now intends to focus on ensuring that the Directive is correctly applied within the Member States, and on collecting feedback and practical experience from business and consumers alike.


Printerversion Printerversion